Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival returns with 10 weeks of dance and 20 one-night only performances | Berkshirelandscapes







People on stage

On June 11, Jacob’s Pillow celebrated the reopening of its flagship theater — the Ted Shawn Theater — which had been closed since 2019. The $9 million renovation project in January 2021.

Features of the renovated theater include a new cooling and air ventilation system, orchestra pit, expanded accessibility for artists and audience members, an increased stage depth by 10 feet and enhanced technology.




BECKET — Jacob’s Pillow has a lot to celebrate this summer.

On the heels of its June 11 ribbon-cutting, celebrating the reopening of the renovated Ted Shawn Theater — its flagship performance space — is its 90th anniversary season, one that also marks a return to indoor performances after two years of outdoor-only spaces. The first performances of the season, “America(na) to Me,” (June 22-26) follow its gala on June 18, begin on June 22.







People on stage cut a ribbon

Cutting the ribbon at the reopening of the renovated Ted Shawn Theater on Saturday, June 11, from left, David Crotteau, Sandra Burton, Vinny Vigilante, Chris Jones, Artistic and Executive Director Pamela Tatge, Joan B. Hunter, state Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli and state Sen. Adam Hinds.



“There is such breadth and depth to what we have programmed this summer, from works that connect us to the nine decades of our history to genres that have never been a part of the Festival before,” said Jacob’s Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Pamela Tatge in a news release. “Audiences will have the chance to witness some of the best dance being created today, including works specifically commissioned for the Festival while at the same time actively participating in classes, workshops and in a series of dance parties that we’ve staged to invite people to move together. We can’t wait to welcome Pillow-goers back to the dance heaven that is Jacob’s Pillow as well as invite new artists and audiences to experience this magical place for the first time.”

HOW IT BEGAN

In 1931, modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn bought a New England farm known as “Jacob’s Pillow.” (Shawn and his wife, Ruth St. Denis, were America’s leading dance couple and ran the Denishawn Dance Company.) In Becket, according to Jacob’s Pillow’s historical archives, he began an artistic retreat “with the intent of legitimizing dance in America as an honorable career for men. In 1933, he recruited eight men, including Danish dancer Barton Mumaw and several physical education students from Springfield College, for his new company.” From 1933 to 1940, Shawn and his Men Dancers toured throughout the United States and Canada, Cuba, and England, performing more than 1,250 times in 750 cities. In the summers, they held “Tea Lecture Demonstrations” at the Pillow. The group disbanded in 1940, as most of its members had joined the military.







Ted Shawn by John Lindquist.jpg

How it all began: In 1931, modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn bought a New England farm known as “Jacob’s Pillow.” He then paved the way to making dance an honorable career for men and became a major impresario, bringing dance to mainstream America through performances and The School at Jacob’s Pillow




Shawn, deeply in debt, rented out the Pillow in 1940 and 1941. In 1941, British ballet stars Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin held an International Dance Festival that was so successful, local supporters formed the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Committee, raised $50,000 to buy the property from Shawn and to build a theater (performances had been held in the barn studio), and named Shawn as director.

On July 9, 1942, the Ted Shawn Theater opened as the first performance space in America designed exclusively for dance.

90TH SEASON AT A GLANCE

After two years of outdoor-only performances, Jacob’s Pillow returns with 10 weeks of performances in the Ted Shawn Theater and 20 one-night only performances on the Henry J. Leir Stage. with performances ranging from ballet and contemporary to powwow dances, hip-hop, house, tap, hustle, flamenco, zapateado, classical and folk styles. This summer’s program also features three special site-based performances on the Pillow grounds.

Where: Jacob’s Pillow, 358 George Carter Road, Becket







Jacob's Pillow sign

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival celebrates its 90th anniversary this season.




For more information and tickets: 413-243-9919; jacobspillow.org

TED SHAWN THEATRE

June 22-26: America(na) to Me dance performance, $55-85, 8 pm Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

June 29-July 3: Ronald K. Brown/ EVIDENCE, $55-$85, 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

July 6-10: SW!NG OUT dance performance, $55-$85, 8 pm Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

July 13-17: AIM by Kyle Abraham dance performance, $55-$85, 8 pm Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

July 20-24: Limón Dance Company, $55-$85, 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

July 27-31: Black Grace dance performance, $55-$85, 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Aug. 3-7: Alonzo King LINES Ballet dance performance, $55-$85, 8 pm Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Aug. 10-14: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, $55-$85, 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Aug. 17-21: Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble dance performance, $55-$85, 8 pm Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Aug. 24-28: Miami City Ballet dance performance, $55-$85, 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 pm Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.







The dressing rooms

The new dressing rooms under the stage of the Ted Shawn Theater still had the plastic on the lighted mirrors on June 11, when the renovated theater was reopened to the public.




HENRY J. LEIR STAGE

Wednesday, June 22: Eastern Woodland Dances dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Thursday, June 23: Dance of the Ages dance performance, $25-$35, 6 pm

Friday, June 24: Collage Dance Collective, $15-$35, 6 pm

Saturday, June 25: The School at Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Ballet program dance performance, free, 6 pm Available to watch online as a livestream.

June 29-July 3: BODYTRAFFIC dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm Wednesday through Saturday and 2 pm Sunday.

Wednesday, July 6: JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Friday, July 8: Bill Shannon dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Saturday, July 9: The New York Korean Performing Arts Center dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Wednesday, July 13: Ballet Nepantla dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Thursday, July 14: Mina Nishimura / Kota Yamazaki dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Friday, July 15: Passion Fruit Dance Company with Baye and Asa dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Saturday, July 16: The School at Jacob’s Pillow: Contemporary Performance Ensemble dance performance, free, 6 pm Available to watch online as a livestream.

July 20-24: Music From The Sole, $15-$35, 6 pm Wednesday through Saturday and noon Sunday.

July 27-31: Dichotomous Being: An Evening of Taylor Stanley, $15-$35, 6 pm Wednesday through Saturday and noon Sunday.

Wednesday, Aug. 3: Les Ballet Afrik dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Thursday, Aug. 4: Indigenous Enterprise dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Friday, Aug. 5: Soles of Duende Percussive Trio, opening performance by Freedom Dabka Group, $15-$35, 6 pm

Saturday, Aug. 6: The School at Jacob’s Pillow: Musical Theater Performance Ensemble, free, 6 pm

Aug. 10-14: Dance Heginbotham dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm Wednesday through Saturday and noon Sunday.

Wednesday, Aug. 17: Vanessa Sanchez & La Mezcla dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Thursday, Aug. 18: Hustle at the Pillow, opening performance by Estrellitas de Sorto, $15-$35, 6 pm

Friday, Aug. 19: East Coast Styles dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Saturday, Aug. 20: The School at Jacob’s Pillow: Dance Theater: Afro-Latin Immersion Performance Ensemble, free, 6 pm

Wednesday, Aug. 24: Ladies of Hip-Hop Dance Collective performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Thursday, Aug. 25: Boston Dance Theater, $15-$35, 6 pm

Friday, Aug. 26: Kayla Hamilton dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

Saturday, Aug. 27: YYDC dance performance, $15-$35, 6 pm

SITE SPECIFIC

July 1 and 2: Loni Landon Dance Project Featuring Mary Lattimore / Solace of Surrender dance performance, $15-35, 4:30 pm, Friday and 12:30 pm, Saturday in the Great Lawn Tent.

July 29 and 30: Michelle N. Gibson with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra / NOJO 7 dance performance, $15-$35, 4:30 pm Friday and 12:30 and 7 pm Saturday.

Aug. 10-13: Liz Lerman dance performance, $15-$35, 8:15 pm Wednesday through Saturday in the Festival Tent.

JACOB’S PILLOW ON THE ROAD

Saturday, July 16: Versa-Style Dance Company performs ORIGINS of Hip Hop; dance performance. Berkshire-based performers TBA. Free. 1 pm, behind Town Hall, 334 Main St., Great Barrington.

Sunday, July 17: Versa-Style Dance Company performs ORIGINS of Hip Hop; dance performance. Free. 1 pm, North Becket Park, Maple Street, Becket.

Thursday, July 21: Mambo Royalty, Pittsfield Moves! and other performers to be announced; dance performance. Berkshire-based performers TBA. Free. 5:30 to 7:30 pm on The Common, First Street, Pittsfield.

PILLOWTALK SERIES

Free, 4 pm, in Blake’s Barn

Saturday, June 25: “Ted Shawn: His Life, Writing, and Dances.”

Sunday, June 26: “Perseverance on Film.” Saturday, July 2: “Christopher Duggan: Now & Then.”

Sunday, July 3: “When Langston Dances.” Saturday, July 9: “Rooted Jazz Dance.”

Sunday, July 10: “WEB DuBois and the Black Berkshires.”

Saturday, July 16: “A Visit With Kyle Abraham.”

Sunday, July 17: “Remembering Kariamu Welsh.”

Saturday, July 23: “Limón on Film.”

Sunday, July 24: “Dancing the Core Curriculum.”

Saturday, July 30: “La Nijinska.”

Sunday, July 31: “Black Grace: From Canon’s Creek to Jacob’s Pillow.”

Saturday, Aug. 6: “Ann Hutchinson Guest’s Century+.”

Sunday, Aug. 7: “Studio/Theater” at MoMA.”

Sunday, Aug. 14: “Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.”

Saturday, Aug. 20: “All Styles Roundtable.”

Sunday, Aug. 21: “Documenting the Hustle.”

Saturday, Aug. 27: “Celebrating Lourdes Lopez.”

Sunday, Aug. 28: “Technology and Dance.”

CLASSES

Sundays, June 26- Aug. 28: Workshops with Festival Artists offer unique experiences for movers to explore repertory, genres, and techniques from leading dance artists. 10 to 11:30 am Pay via online registration or cash/card at the door; learn more at jacobspillow.org.

Tuesdays-Fridays, June 21- Aug. 26: A variety of in-person dance and movement classes open to participants of all experience levels, including beginners, ages 16 and up. 8 to 9 am Pay via online registration or cash/card at the door; learn more at jacobspillow.org.

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